Who says great things cannot come from the motherland? Scientists at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens both at the University of Ghana have discovered vital information about the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement issued by the University of Ghana revealed that:
The scientist have analyzed samples from selected cases to gain a comprehensive understanding of the variations of the virus that are present in the country. Samples analyzed were taken from two travelers who arrived in Ghana from the UK, one from Norway, one from Hungary, one from India, and one traveler who arrived from the United States through the United Arab Emirates. Nine samples were taken from individuals who had no travel history, who are believed to have acquired the infection locally.
Genome sequencing allows for the compilation of the most comprehensive information about an organism’s genetic makeup. Using advanced next-generation sequencing methods, scientists are able to track and compare viral mutations to understand the origins of imported strains and to discover if any novel strains are emerging locally.
Prof. Abraham Anang, Director of NMIMR said:
“The successful establishment of this sequencing capability at University of Ghana is a significant milestone in Ghana’s response to the pandemic, as it will strengthen surveillance for tracking mutations of the virus and aid in the tracing of the sources of community infections in people with no known contact with confirmed cases,”
Prof. Gordon Awandare, Director of WACCBIP also stated that:
“The data tells us that, while there were some differences between the strains from the various countries, all the 15 genomes generally resembled (with >92% similarity) the reference strain that was isolated in the Wuhan Province of China, where the outbreak began. This confirms that we are dealing with the same pathogen, and that it has not yet changed its genetic make-up significantly. It is natural that pathogens will evolve as they encounter different environmental challenges, so we will need to continue monitoring to keep track with these changes and determine how they impact on the efficacy of potential drugs or vaccines that are being developed”
Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia also took to social media to congratulate the scientists from the University of Ghana on this milestone